by Luke H.

More often than not I don’t know a thing about what I’m doing when I first try something, and what I do know is usually wrong. Such has been my experience with Teleservice in San Francisco. I heard it was what other people in the Fellowship did for service. I heard that it was hurting, with volunteers dropping and leadership in general disarray. I didn’t pay much attention, though. I never felt compelled to help out even when I heard some passionate members push to breathe life back into the organization.

Passionate members pushed to breathe life back into it

My experience getting involved with Teleservice reminds me of a phenomenon I experienced some years ago growing up in Orange County. Have you ever had a favorite radio station that keeps playing a really awful song that you totally hate? When I was younger, I listened to KROQ 106.7 all the time. My clock radio woke me up by playing KROQ. Almost without fail, Jack Johnson’s “Banana Pancakes” would be playing first thing in the morning. Every. Single. Morning.

I swore that the DJs were doing this to ruin my morning. I already had to be in class by 7:20 so this was just adding insult to injury for me. Weeks passed. Months flew by. Gradually I found myself singing along to “Banana Pancakes” as I awoke to it. I even bought Jack Johnson’s entire discography on CD (I still stand by this decision – he rules).

share laughs over chilled Minute Maid orange juice at some church remodeled in the late ’70s

Bringing it back to Teleservice now: I heard Lara A. announce at what seemed like every meeting that Teleservice wasn’t doing too well. Every week, she made the same announcement. Eventually, she approached me and asked if I was interested in helping out. I found myself saying “yes” and promising that I would be at a Gratitude Center ad hoc orientation on Saturday. I had heard Teleservice talked about enough that I realized I had but one choice: help out to ensure the future of this great part of the service work, made possible by Intergroup.

I was sure I was going to tank

I attended and said I would take a regular shift. Should there be an opening, I didn’t mind being a Daily Coordinator (keeping scheduled volunteers apprised of shifts and helping volunteers get coverage if needed). Lara got back to me within a day or so and said I had a shift. I was now a Daily Coordinator for Wednesday. Wait, what? I hadn’t even done my first shift and I needed to help out a crew of seasoned volunteers every week. I was sure I was going to tank.

Almost three years have passed since then. I appreciate and love Teleservice more than ever before. We have great Daily Coordinators and even better volunteers. Were it not for COVID-19, we would have had our annual volunteer appreciation brunch, at some church last remodeled in the late 1970s, I’m sure. The last one in 2019 was pretty great – so many people I had emailed, talked to on the phone yet had never met in person! We actually got to meet each other and share some laughs over chilled Minute Maid orange juice.

I encourage you to come and join us on the third Monday of the month at 6:00 p.m. for orientation. We have a lot of fun helping out still-suffering alcoholics. Until then, I’ll keep announcing the same entreaty each week at the meetings I attend for others to join me for fun with Teleservice. It grows on you like banana pancakes.

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